G. David Miller


The concept of community development organizations providing assistance to communitiesin furthering the goals of community participation and self-help is conflictive.Providing institutionalized assistance often fosters dependency rather than advancingparticipation and self-help. The author examines goal statements of twenty leadingAmerican private voluntary organizations (PVOs) carrying out international communitydevelopment. Eighteen of the twenty espouse self-help, yet concentrate more on deliveringassistance than promoting empowerment. Their idea of self-help consists of supportingcommunity level administration of resources rather than advocating actualcommunity control. Most PVOs are donor-driven and transfer that dependency to thecommunities they serve. This raises the question of who is the client of the PVO, thedonor or the community? An alternative model is proposed in which developmentorganizations compete in a free market. In this way, communities can select servicesaccording to their needs.

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